One-sentence review: A jaw-droppingly brilliant comic novel.
Slightly longer review:
You don’t need my review to know this book is good – I mean, it did win the frickin’ Booker Prize in 2003.
And yet I somehow managed to avoid reading this until just now – and it’s so great, so unbelievably good, that I just had to write a mini review to say … wow.
At the risk of sounding like a child who makes lists, this is now one of my top 5 favourite books of all time, right up there with A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole – which makes sense, as both books have a lot in common.
Both have antiheroes who feel like society is ganging up on them, both lampoon the larger than life characters that fill their pages, and both are written with a verve and wit that puts other books to shame.
The narrator in Vernon God Little is Vernon himself, a 15-year-old with a fetish for female smells who finds himself being blamed for mass murders and who dreams of escaping his tiny Texan town (and his mother) to live on a Mexican beach with his teenage crush, Taylor.
I could gush about the great dialogue, the evocation of claustrophobia as Vernon tries to escape, the way the plot twists and turns but instead I’ll simply say this: read it. Read it now.